It’s the end of the road for Evil Geniuses’ VALORANT Champions Tour season. After suffering a 2-0 loss to NRG in the lower bracket of the North American Last Chance Qualifier, EG are finished for major tournaments in 2022.
In a tournament with stakes as high as LCQ — where a final spot at Champions 2022 is on the line — the theme of the event has been staying cool under pressure. For EG’s young and green lineup, the cracks in their composure proved too much.
“Some of my players definitely looked shook out there,” EG’s coach Christine “potter” Chi said in an interview after the match. “I love that about these players, the fact that they’re so fresh. They’re all hungry. They’re all ready to learn. But again, that inexperience of understanding what it takes to win: that was lacking.”
EG are a team who defied expectations with their quick rise to the top of North American VALORANT. While some of the roster, like Kelden “Boostio” Pupello and Corbin “C0M” Lee, were at least known quantities, the team was mostly a hodgepodge of likely young talents. Now, players like Alexander “jawgemo” Mor and Vincent “Apotheon” Le are being touted as the next big thing.
“I’m extremely proud of these guys,” potter said. “I think we’ve grown a lot as a team. Individually as well. Every single one of these players was not on anyone’s radar coming into 2022 as a top tier player or as best in their roles.”
Our #VALORANTLCQ run was exciting and action-packed, but sadly this marks the end of the season for us.
We want to thank all of our fans for your support throughout this season! pic.twitter.com/WRB36GUfX4
— Evil Geniuses (@EvilGeniuses) August 8, 2022
EG suffer heartbreaking loss to NRG
The series against NRG started rough for EG. They lost their pick of Bind in a nearly backbreaking 13-6. From potter’s perspective, the team’s jitters and sloppy post-plants were to blame.
On the other side of the server, NRG’s Ethan “Ethan” Arnold had a different perspective. He was surprised that EG brought out a similar look on Bind from their previous encounter on the map. In that bout, EG got the upper-hand. NRG were well prepared to deal with similar tactics.
“I think they’re kind of dry,” Ethan said. “At least playing against them, that’s how it looks. They don’t have too much depth. That might come from inexperience, that might not, but that’s how I see it.”
Icebox was a tighter affair. It looked like NRG would run away with it, but a late rally from EG brought the game to overtime.
“We might’ve gotten a little ahead of ourselves,” Ethan said. “But once overtime hit, we knew we were just gonna close it out even though we made a bunch of mistakes leading up to that.”
Now NRG have a few days to prep for Cloud9. The two teams are well acquainted from their scrims, where Ethan said C9 looked formidable.
“Definitely will be harder than the last two matches,” he said. “I think we really have to prep for that.”
What’s next for EG in VALORANT?
The past VCT season was one of immense growth for EG and their head coach potter, a former Counter-Strike and VALORANT pro.
“I’ve learned a lot,” potter said. “I’ve grown a lot. When I hung up the mouse as a player, I had a lot of questions on whether my logic or philosophies on the game would translate. There’s a huge gap. There’s even a lingo issue. We always say jawgemo talks in cursive. They’re just zoomers and I’m a boomer.”
Unfortunately for EG, their 2022 VCT run is finished and franchising is just around the corner. The future is in question for EG. But before they reassess their situation, the more immediate concern for the roster of EG is de-compressing after a long grind.
“We’ve just been tunnel-visioning so hard in the last month on LCQ,” potter said. “That was our full focus.”
Whatever’s next for EG, the team is happy with how far they’ve come.
“I definitely didn’t expect us to be as successful as we were as fast as we were,” potter said. “I’m proud of that. I’m really proud of the rate of progression I was able to get out of these guys individually and on a team level.”